Berlin

Germany warns of 'dangerous' situation if Italy halts reform

Berlusconi says Monti was 'German-centric'

Germany warns of 'dangerous' situation if Italy halts reform

Berlin, December 11 - Dire warnings were issued from Berlin Tuesday as Germany's government fretted over the effects on the rest of Europe if Italy's new government changes fiscal direction. "If Italy were to break from the path of reform, this would be a dangerous development for Europe," said Guido Westerwelle. Germany's foreign affairs minister. As he spoke, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference that she supports "what (Italian Premier) Mario Monti has put in place for reforms". Monti rattled many with his weekend announcement that he would resign from office after his 2013 budget law is passed. The technocrat premier took that position after ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party withdrew its support from Monti's emergency government, triggering early elections. When those elections occur, Italian voters "will vote in a way to guarantee that Italy stays on the right path," Merkel added. Still, Germany's concerns suggest international players are worried about Monti's departure and a return of Berlusconi, who confirmed Saturday he had reconsidered plans to retire from politics and would instead stand for a fourth term as Italian premier at upcoming national elections. In response, Berlusconi complained Tuesday that Monti has been "too German-centric" as he blasted the effects of the austerity measures Monti's administration has introduced in order to steer Italy away from the centre of the eurozone crisis. Monti came to power at the helm of an administration of unelected technocrats a year ago when Berlusconi was forced to quit as premier with Italy's debt crisis threatening to spiral out of control.

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